Welcome to my monthly series…Herbs and Children! I have been learning so much about herbs and how to treat a variety of illnesses, infections, skin conditions, emotions, and other issues in children. While I am far from an expert, I do feel as though I have a lot of great information to share with you that can then use to do your own further research. Each month, I will share a specific “condition” or health concern and the specific herbs that are known to be safe and effective to use on and in your children to address these conditions. Be sure to read to the end of each post where I link up the previous posts in the series. Also, there may be a few links for products from my affiliate partners. If you click on them and make a purchase, it helps support my blog. And remember, I am not a licensed medical professional nor do I play one on this blog. Nothing I write should be taken as medical advice.
When you think of the word “dehydration” as it relates to children, more than likely you picture a severely ill child, suffering from dehydration due to excessive vomiting or diarrhea. You don't often picture a child who has overexerted himself or herself at the park or a child who overdid it on the diuretic foods and beverages out there.
However, children and adults alike can become dehydrated for a variety of different reasons. Common dehydration causes are as follows:
- Not drinking enough water or other non-diuretic beverages
- Severe diarrhea
- Profuse sweating
- Intense physical activity in a hot environment
- Bladder infection/kidney infection
- Certain medications
How do you know if your child is dehydrated?
Dehydration is not always obvious. Believe it or not, most people who are dehydrated have no idea. With children, it is especially difficult to determine if they are indeed dehydrated.
Though the severity of dehydration symptoms may vary depending on the geographical location and climatic conditions, age, weight, and level of activity pursued by the individual, certain symptoms are common. These include:
- Dark colored urine and/or low urine output
- Unusually dry skin
- Excessive thirst, although by the time we feel the urge to drink water, dehydration has already set in
- Chapped lips that are not associated with sun/wind burn or eating/drinking hot foods/beverages
- A dry and sticky mouth and the absence of saliva
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing, accompanied by atypical gagging
- Muscle cramps in the legs
- Dizziness and fatigue – general lethargy
- No tears
- Sunken eyes
If you suspect that your infant or child is dehydrated, PLEASE contact your trusted medical practitioner immediately. Dehydration in babies and children should not be taken lightly.
How can herbs help with dehydration?
First, if your child is at risk for possibly becoming dehydrated, it is best to be proactive and give your child's body a little extra boost. I know how difficult it can be to get a child to consume enough liquids. Trust me – I have fought that battle before and lost. When I know that Tiny needs a fluid boost, I add in a few powerful herbs to help keep her body as hydrated as possible.
Both ginger and peppermint work well in situations where dehydration is a risk or currently present. Both are especially soothing to the stomach and easy to digest. Ginger is a great replenisher and can really help the entire body systems. Both of these flavors are generally well tolerated and enjoyed by children.
Other herbs that can also aid in dehydration are lavender, chamomile, and thyme. While making a weak tea with dried lavender or chamomile will most likely be accepted by your child, thyme is a very strong herb and probably not the go-to as your first line of defense against dehydration. However, if it is all you have it works quite well especially if the dehydration is related to overexertion/stress or food poisoning.
Have you ever dealt with dehydration in your children? Aside from the herbs listed here, any remedies that you love?
Stay tuned for an upcoming post that delves into quite a bit more on dehydration as well as other remedies!